s/v Charabia

23 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Guatemala - heading to Chiapas, Mexico
22 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off El Salvador - heading to Chiapas, Mexico
21 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Nicaragua - heading to Chiapas, Mexico
20 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Nicaragua - heading to Chiapas, Mexico
19 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
18 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
17 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
16 January 2018 | Playa Mata de Cana
15 January 2018 | Playa Pan de Azurar
14 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
13 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
13 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
12 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
11 January 2018 | Bahia Brasilito
10 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica - heading to Papagayo
09 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Costa Rica - heading to Papagayo
08 January 2018 | Punta Balsa
07 January 2018 | Almost at Isla Ladrones
06 January 2018 | Gulfo de Montijo
05 January 2018 | Bahia Arenas

Mystery Ship!

23 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Guatemala - heading to Chiapas, Mexico
Helen/Mark
This day found us with no wind and super hot too. We ended up taking down the jib and main sails and motoring with one engine as all the main was doing nothing but slapping from side to side. Still we were only making speeds of 3-4 knots. We are thankful for our bimini as well as our sun shades which made it bearable. Before lunch time we took a shower to cool off. I know the winter climate up north is unbearably cold, but sometimes the heat has the same impact for us. We took turns sleeping thru the day. Two small black and white birds found an opportunity to rest on the forward deck of our boat. With the jib sail furled, they were able to land after many attempts of flying round and round the boat. We thought they were searching for fish which tend to scatter when they hear our engine noise. Then there was no wind at all so we added the second engine to generate a breeze. After a couple of hours, the wind picked up enough to hoist the main sail and full jib. Our boat speed improved to 8+ knots with 15 knots of favorable wind. About this time, we spotted a cargo ship up ahead that did not look like it was moving. AIS had no information listed. We made good time with our speed and got closer and closer to the ship. About 5 miles away, our AIS identified the ship as the Strategic Vision and was listed as 'not under command'. This scared me as the boat was adrift and looked to be heading towards our rum line. We did not see anyone aboard but there must have been a skeleton crew. No one answered my call on Channel 16. We ended up motor/sailing past the ship with no issues. Our great speed lasted a few hours but now the wind has shifted, once again, to directly in front of us. Jib has been furled. We are motoring on one engine as we really needed the consistent higher speeds for us to get to Chiapas tomorrow. That means we have two more nights before our arrival. We now have 15 knots of wind directly in our face. That is why our speed is so poor, only around 4 knots. The jib is down and we are running a full main sail. For the first time since leaving Costa Rica, there are clouds forming closer to the Guatemala coast line. Other than there, it is clear blue sky and scorching sunshine. We are 26 miles off the coast. The seas are lumpy but not big, but making the boat rock. Saw a few birds, but nothing like yesterday's huge flock and saw a few dolphins and some jumping fish. Lots of miles and miles of ocean, that we are passing by. Checked to fuel at noon and have more than half a tank so we are doing good on that front. Helen's finger is improving and looks like she will survive.

Amazing Wildlife at Sea!

22 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off El Salvador - heading to Chiapas, Mexico
Helen
Took turns at the helm last night. Changed at midnight. I noticed the kitchen hatch was open and when I tried to close it, a wave knocked me off balance and the hatch hit the tip of my right little finger. It hurt for a very long time. It turned different shades of purple and swelled to double the size. Then we noticed a brown sea bird in our cockpit. He was heading for the cockpit door when Mark scooped it up in a 5-gallon bucket and deposited him down the port stairs. He remained there for most of the night but was gone in the morning. Mark took the main sail down as we were running down wind and it was shadowing the jib. The wind blew to 21 and settled down to 18 knots. The seas were huge all night long. At daylight, the bird and a flock of his friends returned and fought over room to stand on the spreaders. Two of them succeeded at different times, with three birds up there at one point. Later in the morning with lighter winds, the birds were encouraged to leave as we were hoisting the main. They left quite a mess. So much for our hospitality. We sailed thru a flock of 200 smaller birds which scattered around the boat. At that time the dolphins showed us and stayed thru mid afternoon. The waves were large and they loved to jump and swim thru them. At one point we saw 8 dolphins swimming in the bow wake. Took some pictures and video as well. The sun has been shining for the past number of days. No clouds at all until it gets to sunset and then we don't have much of an opportunity to see the green flash. After sunset yesterday, the entire sky was orange and then it seemed like we sailed thru fog. It was quite eerie. That cleared up before it got dark. No boat sightings last night. I saw something on the radar this morning, further out to sea, but it was too far away to see it. Mark just furled the jib as there is no wind yet again. The swells are around 6 feet with light winds around 3 -4 knots at this time. We have one engine going so the speed is all our making. We have 223 miles still to go to Chiapas. We do not have the speed to make it there by tomorrow, so Wednesday, at the earliest, will be our arrival day.

Quiet Day at Sea!

21 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Nicaragua - heading to Chiapas, Mexico
Helen
We enjoyed winds all thru the night which allowed us to sail until mid afternoon, at times making great speed. We are about 50 miles off the Nicaragua coast. Our insurance would not allow us to stop at there since it is deemed unsafe. The Pacific Ocean was choppy most of the day and now has slight swells as the wind died down. We got the score from the Patriot-Jaguar game as 7-3 for the Jags. Can they hold on to their lead and make it the Super Bowl? Today was uneventful. We took turns at the helm all night and then caught up on more sleep thru the day. I played some games on my tablet, Euchre, Phase 10 and Bridge while alternating between a couple different books that I am reading. That kills the night watches for sure. We saw some turtles in the water every so many miles. Also, many birds this far out in the ocean. Mark saw a stingray jump into the air. Also saw some dolphins. Thru the night there was one tanker about 4-5 miles that passed us on our starboard side, heading south. One other fishing type boat, looked like a Shrimper, passed on our port side, also heading south. No other vessels spotted. We lost our wind and furled the jib sail. Also shook out the double reef in the main. Our speed is much slower now. It's a smoother ride on the water. Dinner will be something simple like 'Arroz Con Hoevo', since we have a lot of eggs. The temperature this morning was cool with the breeze. We took showers off the port steps after lunch. Our current cabin temperature is 88 degrees. Mark cleaned the salt water off the solar panels. I cleaned our front windows. It does help for the night watches.

Escape from Costa Rica

20 January 2018 | Pacific Ocean off Nicaragua - heading to Chiapas, Mexico
Helen
Up early. Got the boat ready to depart Papagayo, Costa Rica. The port captain's assistant threatened that we would be arrested if we didn't leave by 21:00 once we were cleared out yesterday. The marina manager told us that was not true. We enjoyed some happy hour drinks at the restaurant/bar at the marina last night. The sunset was fabulous with lots of red. Took a walk along the dock with the mega yachts. Anna was the largest ship at over 200 feet and had underwater lights with a whole bunch of fish swimming around including a number puffer fish. We talked to some of its staff at the bar. Seb was the one that gets to be suspended by three ropes in order to clean the hull and windows. Wow! A fourth mega yacht arrived thru the night. We took a last walk up to the marina lounge so Mark could get weather. It seemed the strongest signal from there. Left the dock around 8 with our fellow catamaran worker helping untie our lines. Mark noted that it seemed cooler today. There was not much of a breeze. I woke up thru the night and had a tough time falling back asleep. We motored out the channel and Mark stored the bumpers and lines in the anchor locker. We stayed off the rocky coast line of the bay. Hoisted the main, but reefed as the weather predictions were for gusts to 30 knots. Then we got out on the ocean and there were small swells and the wind in our face once again. Motor/sailed with one engine. Then as we headed offshore the winds picked up and came around to our beam as predicted. We are now sailing with full jib and reefed main and no motor. Our speeds are over 6 -7 knots with 15-16 knots of wind. Since after lunch, the breeze is cool. I finally put on my jeans as the night temperatures will be even less. The sun is shining brightly. We took pictures earlier of our whale sighting. We did see the blow holes shooting water and what looked like steam into the air from a distance and could make out the body of a whale and some tail fins, but their color blended into the color of the water. Saw several dolphins riding our bow wake. Out winds got up to 27 in gusts. We are now seeing our 3rd huge turtle. We go by them too fast to get a picture. We have 371 miles to the mark with 57 miles after that. The seas are lumpy and it's a rocky road and we are getting some spray on deck, we are 30 miles off shore of Nicaragua. The winds should be less tomorrow. In summary, the marina at Papagayo was the absolute best marina we have ever stayed at!! Thanks to Dan and all the marina crew, for a very special stay!

Bureaucratic Hell Part II

19 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
Helen
Up early and headed to the marine office to pick up our rental car at 8. Headed to Playas de Coco to the Port Captain's office for check out papers. First we had to fill in paperwork. Then we had to pay $20 service fee, but we could only do that by going to a bank. Drove to the bank. I waited in the car. Mark went in and waited in line only to find that he didn't take his passport which was required for some reason. The $20 had a bank service fee of $5. So, Mark gives them $25 cash but that needed a photo id. I finally went in and to see what was taking so long. They had two doors with a red and green light. You could only go thru one at a time and wait for the green light. Then I was told to remove my cap. I guess for the cameras. Mark said he gave the lady all the required documents and the lady took his passport and walked back into their offices. Not sure why it took so long. I had time to shop at the store next door. The next step was driving out to the airport to visit customs. This time we again went to their empty office a block from the airport. So, back to the airport. Mark gave the customs agent his passport and had to fill out more documents. The lady took them back into the airport and after an hour, she came back with a form to give to the port captain, which ends our temporary permit for our boat being in Costa Rica. Then we drove to the Immigration office just as the only officer was locking up the office. He gave Mark three forms to fill out, one for the boat, one for him and one for me. Then he produced one form for the port captain and stamped our passports. Then back to the Port Captain's office in Playa de Coco. We were there just before noon. We waited for one other person. The port captain took all the other forms, had Mark fill out additional forms and then issued the International Zarpe. He also told us we need to be out of the country by 21:00 today. Decided to go to the Lookout Restaurant for lunch as our marina manager highly recommended it. It was quite the drive up hill to get there. We finally found it and drove up to the door only to find that we needed to park down below. Mark had to back down our Toyota Yaris. Then we climbed a very steep hill only to find that they don't open until 4 pm. So, we took some pictures instead and headed back to the restaurant that made such a great pizza. We get there and they are not making pizza today. So, we grabbed some fast food instead. Then Mark promised a trip to the casino. The one we went was two stories with slot machines and tables that only open at night. So, we each played some. My machine was up $5 so I wanted to cash out. There was something sounding like an alarm and eventually a lady came over and filled out a form which I had to sign. Then she went away and came back with my money. Mark gave them $5 so we got to play and break even. Stopped at a different grocery store and picked up a small amount as we really didn't need anything other than fresh fruits and veggies. Got back to the marina and asked about some beaches, but we had already driven past the suggested ones so we decided we had enough. Checked out of the marina as the manager told us that we have until tomorrow to leave. He also supplied us with four free drink tickets. One of the marina employees drove us back to our boat on his elongated golf cart as we had stopped at one of the fruit stands and picked up a watermelon and pineapple as well. Got into our swim suits and enjoyed a cold swim for our last time. Then back to the boat. Had a light dinner, which was yesterday's leftovers plus some extra veggies. Then came to the restaurant/bar and I'm having a Pina Colada and Mark is having a Passion Fruit Mohito. Yum on both!! We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here at Papagayo Marina. Last night we met several of the crew of the mega yacht in the cruiser's lounge. Our wifi wasn't working well so we walked up. Talked to one of the tour boat captains who was New Smyrna, Florida. He took a group of local investors out on the 65 foot Fountaine Pajot Catamaran and said they saw a pod of 5 Humpback Whales. So, tomorrow we will be back on the Pacific Ocean on a 3-4 day sail to Mexico! Hope we get to see those whales!

Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous

18 January 2018 | Marina Papagayo
Helen
Had a busy and productive morning. Mark bypassed the hot water tank since we discovered a leak. Then we made plans for lunch, based on the marina staff recommendation. A driver picked us up. It was not far away but the ride was up and down mountains to get there. The place was definitely out of the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous show. The entrance way had water features on both sides, aligned with plants. Then the welcoming area had a dispenser with water and slices of pineapples along with coconut cookies. We walked down the mountain to the restaurant. Absolutely stunning architecture, looking down on an infinity pool below and the ocean out in the distance. The picture was taken from our table. We will catch up with other pictures at some point since they are on our other camera. We had the same driver on the way back. Back at the boat, we spent time washing the salt water off and scrubbed all the marks with a new cleanser we bought at the marine store. Then got into our swimsuits and headed to the pool. We were surprised that there was one other guest at the pool. The water was extremely cold. It didn't take long to cool us off. Grabbed and shower and head back for dinner. This place has multiple wifi connections but it doesn't seem to work well enough at our boat. So, we walked up to the Cruiser's Lounge and found many people already there, playing pool and shuffle board. They seem to be the workers on the huge boat that is parked at the end of the marina. They seemed to be having fun. Sounds like British accents and they told us they will be here for a month. We have pre-arranged a rental car for tomorrow. Our plans are to visit the port captain and not sure if customs or immigration also need to see us for check out. If all goes well, we will be leaving on Saturday, for Mexico. It will take us 3-4 days.
Vessel Name: Charabia
Vessel Make/Model: Fountaine Pajot / Athena
Hailing Port: Jacksonville, FL
Crew: Mark &Helen
About:
We are both computer folks that were live aboard cruisers back in the 90s. We settled in Jacksonville Florida after escaping the great white north and cruising the Bahamas, T&C, DR and points south down to Trinidad. [...]
Extra: Charabia is a French slang word for nonsense or gibberish. It derives from Arabic "sharab" which means alcohol.When you drink (too much) alcohol, you start talking Charabia. The original owners named her and Mark liked the name so it stuck.
Charabia's Photos - Main
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Added 13 April 2015